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Following the Canadian Liberation Route in the Netherlands

Following the Canadian Liberation Route in the Netherlands

Old Feb 26th, 2017, 05:44 PM
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Following the Canadian Liberation Route in the Netherlands

As part of a 3 week trip in September, my friend and I will probably be about a week in Holland starting in the Southwest (a stop in Bergen Op Zoom) and moving to the North East (Enschede). We are driving and at some point want to base in a spot where we could commute by train to Amsterdam on 1 or 2 days. I'm looking at Amersfoort but would like to hear opinions and suggestions.
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Old Feb 27th, 2017, 05:07 AM
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Groesbeek, The Liberation Museum. http://www.bevrijdingsmuseum.nl
Beek, Eyewitness Museum.
http://en.eyewitnesswo2.nl/
Eindhoven, Lichtjesroute.
http://www.lichtjesroute.org/
Overloon, War Cemetery.
http://www.cwgc.org/find-a-cemetery/...WAR%20CEMETERY
and
Oorlogsmuseum.
https://www.oorlogsmuseum.nl/
Oosterbeek, Airborne Wandeltocht.
https://www.airbornewandeltocht.nl/
Knokke-Heist- Belgium, For Freedom Museum.
http://www.forfreedommuseum.be/
Maybe use car to get to several locations in one day.
Public transport planner.
http://9292.nl/en#
I could suggest more, but I do not know the dates of your visit and interests.
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Old Feb 27th, 2017, 05:34 AM
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Amersfoort could be a good base. It is an interesting city in it's own right. Two caveats - one parking is expensive unless your hotel offers it, and the train station is quite a walk from the centre.
If you do choose Amersfoort try to visit Kamp Amersfoort, the remains of a concentration camp.

You could consider Soest (my home town) which has a couple of hotels, and free parking by the three(!) stations, though it would involve more changes of train to get to Amsterdam. Or if you prefer a bigger place Utrecht would be a possibility, again if your hotel has parking.
It is only a short drive to Amersfoort if you want to visit it, and Soest is on a train line to Utrecht.

Soest also has the Dutch Military museum https://www.nmm.nl/en/ and next door Baarn has Paleis Soestdijk, which was home to Queen Juliana and Prince Bernhard.

I agree that Overloon is a place you should visit if you can, although it was the Americans involved in the battle there.
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Old Feb 27th, 2017, 09:32 AM
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I thought I had seen some headstones marking Canadians last resting place in Overloon. Memory plays another trick on me maybe. I understand that no Canadians are buried on German soil and all of the deceased were brought back to the Netherlands or Belgium.
The largest (I think) WMC for the Canadians is at Groesbeek http://www.cwgc.org/find-a-cemetery/...WAR%20CEMETERY
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Old Feb 27th, 2017, 10:43 AM
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Thanks to both Riberisacra and Hetismij2 -- all good information. In Amersfoort I did see that the train station is far from the centre but wondered about staying close to the station - again needs more research but the city looks very interesting.
I've looked at all the links you both sent and we will definitely have to do some prioritizing, there is so much to cover - in the week before we arrive in Holland we will be focusing on the WWI Western Front (Vimy, Ypres etc) and want to fit some fun stuff (markets, festivals) in there too. Also I did look at Soest and Free Parking is important. Do either of you know the town where the children put candles on the graves (I think of Canadians) on Christmas Eve?
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Old Feb 27th, 2017, 11:48 AM
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The candles are lit at many War Graves in the Netherlands but the one you are thinking of is at Groesbeek.

Amersfoort also has a Russian war cemetery which local children have looked after over the years, because the soldier's families were unable to visit it during the Cold War.

Many grave yard have Commonwealth War Graves in them too, usually of flight crew but sometimes of army casualties. The Commonwealth War Grave website is very useful for finding those "forgotten" heroes. Each grave is beautifully kept, and looked after by locals, often the children, no matter where it is.

Because I live so close I am not familiar with hotels in Amersfoort. This one is very close to the station. Parking is €15 a day https://www.nh-hotels.com/hotel/nh-amersfoort

http://www.accorhotels.com/gb/hotel-...e/index.shtml#! is a bit more of a walk, also with paid parking, but I think it costs less than the NH. Both are modern blocks. There are nicer hotels in the old centre, but parking could be a problem there. The hotels may offer a reduced rate for the big parking garages in the centre though.
There is a hotel on a ship, with free public parking I believe. Vita something I seem to remember. A way from the station though.

Piet Mondriaan was born in Amersfoort and you can visit his house. You can also do a short boat trip around the canals, or hire bikes, take them o a boat down the river Eem and cycle back.
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Old Feb 27th, 2017, 04:16 PM
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I've just looked at the Tourist I for Amersfoort and see 1 hotel that might interest us.
http://www.hotelrandenbroek.nl/?lang=en
It's close to the centre and a good walk to the station but that would be OK, the website says you can probably park free on the street. We can't reserve at this point as our plans are still vague. I really must thank you for all this information. The more I read the more I become convinced that Amersfoort would be a goood choice.
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Old Feb 28th, 2017, 05:02 AM
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Bear in mind that the thrust of Canadian Units included the north of the country as well: Groningen and Friesland. For instance, there were sizeable Canadian garrisons in Franeker and Sneek, and to this day, there are warm ties between Canadian soldiers and their families, and families from Sneek and Franeker.
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Old Feb 28th, 2017, 10:49 AM
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>

The custom of putting candles on the graves at Christmas began last year at Groesbeek, but it has been done since 1991 at another large Canadian CWGC at Holten (roughly between Apeldoorn and Enschede). Here's a lovely video of the event:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kQr9Z8Dnxyo

It's worth a visit, but so is Groesbeek, not only for the Cemetery, but for the Liberation Museum as well. Groesbeek was also one of the landing sites in Operation Market Garden in September 1944 (US 82nd AB Division) and there are many historical markers in and around the town. It is also the location of the windmill of which George Blackburn writes so eloquently in his book, "The Guns of Victory" which is a must-read for anyone following the route of the Canadians through the Netherlands in 1944-45, or indeed for anyone interested in the history of the liberation.

https://www.amazon.ca/Guns-Victory-S...uns+of+Victory

Amersfoort would be a good place to base yourself, but you might also want to look at Apeldoorn, Arnhem and Nijmegen as possible sites too. Menachem also makes a good point about the thrust into Groningen and Friesland, and you might want to visit the city of Groningen if you have time. On the way, you will find the Westerbork Concentration Camp whose liberation by the 2nd Canadian Division is described in Blackburn's book.

I don't know where you plan to stay when visiting the sites of the Battle of the Scheldt around Bergen-op-Zoom, but you should consider the town of Veere on Walcheren Island, a lovely historical former seaport.

Finally, for a very informative and interesting guidebook, I highly recommend "The Canadian Battlefields in Belgium, Netherlands and Germany" by Terry Copp and Mike Bechtold. In addition to good historical and touring information, it has excellent maps and illustrations.


https://www.amazon.ca/Canadian-Battl...rthwest+Europe

For your visit to the Western Front, I also recommend the guide by Terry Copp et al on the Canadian Battlefields of 1915-18.

I'd be happy to try to answer any questions you may have on your trip.
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Old Mar 3rd, 2017, 04:17 PM
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Laverendrye - thank you for so much very good information -- I will be getting the recommended books. We are limited by time but always consider what I don't see this trip will be a good objective for the next one (We are both 73 this year so have to keep at it!).
Menachem - We won't get to the North this trip but will plan to do it again. I was to Amsterdam in the '60s (and the north) and have had a wish to go back so do want to do at least a day or 2 in AMS but my friend and I always like the smaller places better than the big cities.
I will enjoy continuing my research with all these good links
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